Just like a Japanese girl


On the train home from Tokyo
seats always open up at Kikuna
as if its the last station
before we change galaxies.
I pounce on a vacant seat,
almost crushing a ten year old boy
with spiky hair and a navy blazer
gunning for the same spot.
His friend drags him out
by the scruff of his neck
like a kitten.

There’s still an open seat
beside me.
The three boys look at the seat
and then at me
my strange foreign ampleness
and my red hair.

They stare. I return
to the reading of poems
on my iPhone while Ed Sheeran
croons into my headphones.

At Yokohama Station
we enter the next galaxy
in our train universe.
Black suits disembark
and another seat opens up,
easily enough space
for three little boy butts.
The boys eye the seats
form a little huddle
near me
no longer afraid
but not able to commit
to sitting down.

At Minato-Mirai they tumble
One has forgotten
his umbrella, a good one
not the clear one
from a convenience store
and he runs back on the train
where I hand him the umbrella
and he’s bowing backwards
tripping off the car.
Arigato gozaimasu
he says.
Thank you very much.

His friends are halfway up the stairs,
halfway to their next adventure.
Umbrella boy waves
or something
as the train pulls away.

Perhaps, over dinner,
he’ll tell his parents
“There was this woman
on the train
and she was so round
and more pink than white
and she had red hair
Yeah, like really red.
Just like a Japanese girl.”


  1. Oh my, this one left me laughing and feeling like I was right on that train watching the whole scene. You’ve brightened my day here in the cloudy PNW.

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